Vegas Golden Knights edge Jets 3-2 in OT Featured

Friday, 02 February 2018 05:03 Written by  Published in Game Stories Read 451 times
Winnipeg, Manitoba (NHN)-David Perron's goal 3:57 into overtime was the game winner as the Vegas Golden Knights edged the Winnipeg Jets 3-2 Thursday night.

The exciting finish was brought upon when Kyle Connor tied the game with 2:36 remaining in the third period to bring life to what appeared to be a Jets team that was resigned to give up the two points.

The Jets nearly scored twice in the extra frame off of goalmouth scrambles but all the excitement proved for naught as Perron changed the angle on the goaltender by cutting to the centre of the ice on his off wing before firing a wrister past Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck to earn the Golden Knights the extra point on the night.

"That's Flower (Marc-Andre Fleury) for you right there. He loves those kind of moments and I don't how the puck stay out but he find a way to keep it out and the other guys trying to block shots, things like that," said Perron."We had some good looks in overtime and I'm glad that I put it away."

Reilly Smith and Erik Haula also tallied for the Golden Knights, who moved to 34-12-4 on the season surpassing the existing NHL record for most wins by an NHL expansion team held by the 93-94 Florida Panthers and Anaheim Mighty Ducks, who both had 33 wins.

Marc-Andre Fleury turned aside 26 shots for Vegas.

Joel Armia and Kyle Connor scored for the Jets.

Connor Hellebuyck took the loss for Winnipeg, who dropped to 30-13-9, stopping 28 shots.

Joel Armia opened the scoring with just under five minutes remaining in the first period when Joel Hendricks found him alone in front of an empty Vegas net.

Hendricks hustled in on the forecheck to scoop up a loose puck which Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury misplayed behind the net following a Kyle Connor dump in.

Hendricks flipped a backhand pass to Armia, who shovelled the disc into an empty net to make it 1-0 Winnipeg at 15:10.

Reilly Smith tied the contest with a shorthanded marker at 12:10 of the 2nd period when he knocked over Jets captain Blake Wheeler at the Winnipeg blue line, broke in alone and beat goaltender Connor Hellebuyck with a high shot to knot the contest at 1.

The goal was his 14th of the season.

Erik Haula gave Vegas the lead on the power play with a controversial goal late in the second period after it appeared Connor Hellebucyk had been interfered with.

The Jets challenged the goal for goaltender interference as Knights forward James Neal hit Hellebuyck in the head with his stick, breaking it in the process but Jets defenceman Dustin Byfuglien lifted the Vegas forwards'stick, changing the trajectory of the follow through causing Neal's stick to hit Hellebuyck in the head.

Erik Haula poked the loose puck, which was sitting behind Hellebuyck's right skate, into the goal to score his 19th of the season.

The call left the Jets goaltender puzzled afterward.

"What (the official) said is the puck wasn’t covered, it was laying in the crease, so the guy was allowed to take a two-hand smack to my face. I don’t understand it. I think it’s a terrible call. You would think the video replay is there for that reason. I don’t even think their team wanted that goal, obviously they’re going to take it. That’s just dirty and I don’t put it on that. That’s hockey," he said.

But Winnipeg captain Blake Wheeler was still livid about the call following the game “Well, now it’s bad. It was bad before but come on, (he) fucking breaks a stick over his head. That’s not a goal. I don’t care where the puck is. Right before we went over there, I was told that if Connor’s in the crease and he makes contact with him with his stick, it’s no goal. So, I came back to the bench pretty confident that it was going to be no goal. If anything, we should have been on a five-minute power play or something. That was tough."

Jets Head Coach Paul Maurice was candid in his assessment of the play.

"I don't know how there would be an event that would be more egregious with goaltender interference, just beyond the spirit of the rule," said Maurice. "The idea that a guy could clean a goalie out would be goalie interference, but a two-hand to the head wouldn't. What are we going to do with our goalies now. The puck's loose in the crease, so swing away?"

Kyle Connor tied the contest with 2:36 remaining in regulation, converting a Joel Armia feed from the side boards before Connor snapped a shot from the face off circle past Fleury, beating him high glove side to make it 2-2.

The game went to overtime.

David Perron scored with 1:03 remaining to clinch the win for the Golden Knights. Vegas Head Coach Gerard Gallant said his team was effective but not at their best.

"I mean they (Jets) forecheck as hard as any team we've seen all year. And we had a lot of trouble getting out of our zone and you know fortunately for us they didn't get a ton of shots. But they played a good game and they play a hard game and that's the way they play and that's why they're successful."

"We weren't great. We found a way. We know we're playing a good team that plays a physical game. Like I said I don't think we were great and we didn't play one of our better games but again we found a way," he added.

SHOTS-VEGAS 31 WINNIPEG 28

ATTENDANCE-15,294

Last modified on Wednesday, 07 February 2018 04:05
Philip Paul-Martin

A well rounded journalist with experience in both print and broadcast mediums, Philip has written news stories with impact, broken national news while at the CBC, anchored radio news and hosted talk show radio. His coverage includes feature writing, game stories and more in-depth pieces during the off-season as well as writing about the National Hockey League and the Winnipeg Jets. He calls Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada home.